One of GBS’ ‘Plays Political’, The Apple Cart (1928) is a satirical comedy which follows the fictional English King Magnus as he spars with, and ultimately outwits, Prime Minister Proteus and his cabinet, who seek to strip the monarchy of its remaining political influence.

Shaw’s preface describes the play as:

‘… a comedy in which a King defeats an attempt by his popularly elected Prime Minister to deprive him of the right to influence public opinion through the press and the platform: in short, to reduce him to a cipher.  The King’s reply is that rather than be a cipher he will abandon his throne and take his obviously very rosy chance of becoming a popularly elected Prime Minister himself.

The play was completed in December 1928 and first performed at Warsaw (in Polish) the following June.  Its English première was at the first Malvern Drama Festival in August 1929.

Shaw based King Magnus largely on himself, and Amanda Postlethwaite, the ‘Powermistress-General’, is said by the biographers of Beatrice Webb to be modelled on Susan Lawrence, an old colleague of Shaw’s from the Fabian Society.

The Cast

Director Michael Arnell
Assistant Director Kate Fysh
The Palace  
King Magnus Ian Moth
Queen Jemima Kathryn Ward
Princess Alice Susan Simpson
Sempronius Robbie Gwinnett
Tapnell Cory Gibbs
Vanhattan Joel Leverton
The Government  
Proteus Ginnie Orrey
Amanda Postlethwaite Fiona Gwinnett
Lysistrata Marylyn Ford
Boanerges Colin Ford
Nicobar David Stradling
Crassus Chris Hicks
Pliny Carole Crow
Balbus Nick Turvey